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Is there more to life than sports?

Probably not… but as I told a friend yesterday, sometimes I don’t have any good/original ideas to write about so I snipe something easy out of popular culture. Right now, pop culture at UK is the basketball coach situation and for the life of me I am baffled by all the interest. This interest isn’t sudden though, I mean, I know people who go to UK because of Kentucky basketball–and they don’t play.

Its a religion.

It's a religion.

I LOVE sports, but literally this entire town and most likely state has hung on every single piece of rumor and conjecture as to whom will be the new coach. Anyways, I guess the column is relevant because some people will continue to give more of a damn about UK basketball than they do anything else, so here you go:

Too much attention placed on basketball and must focus elsewhere

March 30, 2009 by Opinions

Column by Wes Robinson

Unless you reside under a rock, you know that UK fired men’s head coach Billy Gillispie on Friday after two years on the job. Regardless of how you feel about how he performed and handled the Kentucky tradition, you understand the magnitude of the firing. Locally and nationally, the impact resounds as local Lexington stations and ESPN have covered the dismissal, from chasing Gillispie through the practice facility, to speculating which big time coach will take over the helm.

As a general sports fanatic, it is really hard for me to say this, but maybe we are placing too much value in sports. I literally spent most of my weekend watching everything from NCAA tournaments to the PGA golf tour, and I generally keep tabs of every televised sport to some extent, so I am as guilty as anybody. I am just as anxious as the next basketball fan to see who signs as the next UK basketball head coach. However, I can’t help but wonder how many people know more about UK basketball than what is going on in their classes; or how much do they know about the way our government is working, or even how our university works.

Think about it, most UK fans know the specifics of Billy Gillispie’s contract, understanding that there is a possibility of Gillispie receiving $6 million not to coach. Now think about how many people you know that can tell you anything about our university or our state budget and its impact on our tuition. Do you think those numbers are even remotely close? Probably not, and it’s because we place so much more value in someone being able to dunk a basketball or represent our fandom, than we do about academic institutional value or the direction our state goes based on the decisions of its flagship university. How many people can name the entire Kentucky roster, recruits and all time greats without knowing who their administrators are or who are the big shots that make major decisions at UK?

I could go on and on with comparisons, but that would be redundant. The point is there is nothing wrong with bleeding blue and loving your team, but we should think about our Kentucky residency like we thought about Gillispie’s tenure. He said he was here to coach, that’s it. Most UK fans argued that there is a certain tradition, history, and protocol to respect as being a part of UK basketball family. Well I believe the same applies to being a resident in the state of Kentucky. If we are just here to root for basketball, then what good are we to everything else that goes into UK?

I know it’s not a coincidence that I haven’t seen as many news stories, Facebook status updates or heard so much idle chit-chat about one topic since the most important presidential election possibly in the history of the United States. Yes, there is rich tradition and a history that is arguably the best in the nation, but if fans get this riled up about sports and seem to be apathetic about everything else then we have a lot of work to do. It’s definitely not just a problem here, but we must pick now to start being more engaged in what Kentucky has to offer, because being at Kentucky is more than just basketball.

We now know John Calipari will succeed Billy Gillispie and the deal he signed, will make him the highest paid coach in college basketball. Which means I won’t get to go suit shopping with Jay Wright. :’

I’ll probably comment on that a little later on, the signing that is. I got other posts for days to catch up on and an anthropology paper to pull together.

Coach Cal just made it to the Elite 8 with a very talented Memphis Tigers squad, for an opportunity to coach at UK, “the Notre Dame” of college basketball. I’m not so sure how good that analogy is Cal…


Actually, I’m not done. Here a/the only comment the column has received. I don’t think I have ever met this guy, but apparently he knows me pretty well. I figured I would share to see if any of you believe these statements are true, or to give you a good laugh.

Hey Wes – how about you quit with this paternal garbage? Not everyone cares about politics, or government – who are YOU to make some self-righteous normative claim about what things in life we should pay attention to? Why do you even care, besides the pompous feeling you get when you can swell your chest up and look down on the masses and lecture them about how they are ignorant and blah blah blah.

Aren’t you a liberal? Don’t you subscribe to the notion that people should live their personal lives according to their personal values? You hypocrite. If you really believe in your liberal creed, you wouldn’t waste ink in a newspaper questioning what people place personal value on.

You’re just an empty-headed, self-righteous liberal like the rest of them. Get over yourself. Your mild engagement in politics doesn’t make you any more intellectual than anyone else – no matter how much you think it does.

You pick. To me it was adorable. Very nice Abe!

  1. 04/01/2009 at 12:21 pm

    I agree with Abe.

    Just Kidding. I think people are getting so excited before he even started coaching or seen what he’s done with the team. I know he was successful with Memphis and that he’ll probably do fine, but they are putting him on this pedestal and it’s kind of… over the top. I am a UK fan as much as anyone else and Love UK basketball, but… the money, man.

  2. 04/02/2009 at 11:50 am

    Well if you saw that press conference yesterday, Calipari is a smooth talker and he dismissed all of those notions. Somebody mentioned to me that the presser wasn’t open to the public. I didn’t see it live but when I heard about it and saw highlights later it made sense. Coach Cal wove around issues with his words and then there wasn’t a huge here comes Moses to lead us to the promise land moment like with Bill Gillispie. Idk I think its a good hire. actually thats about to be blogged…

  3. fatimah
    04/02/2009 at 8:59 pm

    yeah i think it’s a good hire as well, def will be a positive change. just taking it one thing at a time! you’re gonna start bleeding blue

  4. 04/02/2009 at 10:23 pm

    haha maybe. im going to experiment with it i think!

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